Well, sure it was! Remember, 'back in the day' society was still very use to private clubs that catered to a certain audience.
Probably most, defiantly many would have been like the Diogenes Club, you hung out with those of like mind. If you loved fishing with a worm and cane pole, you probably would not join a fly-fishing group as it were.
Mostly male represented activities would be run mostly by males. Likewise, mostly female represented activities would be run by mostly females.
It wasn’t a matter of whether that was fair or not, it was just the way society was. And thankfully that is changing.
And since Holmes and Watson were, well, male, it would seem most likely that, well, males would form a club about them.
While there have probably always been men who have wanted to join a Jane Austin club, it is true that there have always been women who enjoyed the stories of Sherlock Holmes.
Put since, up till recently, society has usually separated the genders in clubbable situations; Sherlockians groups have mostly been male dominated by males.
But for at least as long as I have been a Sherlockian (the late 70’s) there have been very knowledgeable and active women in Sherlockian society. But still a limited number compared to now.
And that brings up two good points.
One; How much of this surge in female Sherlockian popularity is because of how handsome Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are and the fact that ‘Sherlock’ is set in modern times? And how fashionable the coupling of these two is with this modern incarnation of that dynamic duo.
Second; how much of this new mass female participation will survive when the show comes to an end?
I am not against a group of men, or women, who chose to want to hang out in groups with only their own gender. And I also am okay with groups that want to remain exclusive. . . even if I don’t want to belong to any of them.
And I am equally glad of the contribution women make to the world of Sherlock Holmes.
But I think, in a while, when all the fascination over ‘Sherlock’ goes away we will see, once again, a decrease in female participation.
I do however hope that is not the case because they have so much to offer.
Now, actually running a Sherlock Holmes club. . . . . . ;)